Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by neilgodfrey » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:38 pm

Robert Tulip wrote: Neil if you think there is not a systemic ethical problem in Catholic dogma I am again surprised.
This has nothing to do with how we understand the origin of certain ancient texts.

I'm still waiting for some response to the way scholars propose hypotheses that make very detailed predictions covering every word and phrase in the miracle and other stories compared with the vagueness of the predictions of astrotheology.
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Roger Pearse
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Roger Pearse » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:56 am

Andrew wrote: I am aware that that is a Catholic source, but from what I've seen elsewhere, this seems to be correct. About 4% of Catholic priests are sexual abusers, but similar numbers and percentages can be found in other groups. The problem is not a problem with the Catholic Church, it is a societal problem, IMO. A quick Google search should be able to confirm what I just said.

Apologies for the off-topic post, but I've seen a lot of this recently and the misrepresentation of the Catholic Church by the media is irritating, to say the least.
To me also. The rulers of our day encourage vice of every kind (including child abuse), and naturally find it convenient to demonise the one body which is actually opposed to all of that (including child abuse) by selective reporting. A teacher abuses a child, and it's just the teacher at fault; a priest does so and every single Catholic ever born is co-responsible and obliged to pay "compensation"? Yeah, right.

Now I'm not a catholic, and I have no dog in this fight. But I also wasn't born yesterday, and, I can recognise the good old, bad old propaganda strategy of blackening your opponent's reputation in order to justify whatever oppressive tactics you propose to use against them. Every totalitarian state does just this, when it intends to imprison priests and expropriate church property. Henry VIII did it, for heaven's sake, so it's a stock tactic.

I object to being propagandised, in short. Whoever is the object of it. Let the establishment spare me their seedy little hatreds for those better than themselves.

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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Robert Tulip » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:18 am

neilgodfrey wrote: What smoke and mirrors do you see in Bultmann's work? Historicism? Again, you use terms that don't have the standard meanings I think you seem to think they do.
The ultimate irony in Bultmann’s existential proclamation of Christ as divine revelation is his sense that the proclamation of Christ can strip mythology away from a modern reading of the message of the Gospel, when in fact this proclamation is the most grand and intense myth in the world.

I have long had an interest in Bultmann because of his close links to Martin Heidegger, the subject of my Masters Thesis on ethics and ontology. Heidegger understood authenticity as free projection upon our possibilities in the openness of care. Bultmann took such ideas and framed them within the Christian proclamation (kerygma) to present a paradoxical use of myth to transcend myth. But in this paradox I found Bultmann confusing and wrong by comparison to other theologians whom I do like, especially Oscar Cullmann and Emil Brunner.

The core of Bultmann’s error is his confused understanding of myth, presenting the ancient paradigm as a false myth while failing to see that the story of Christ is itself mythical. In some respects Bultmann is a way-station on the path to mythicism, except that he makes comments like describing the Gospels as containing ‘a sober, factual account of a human life, Jesus of Nazareth’ (KM 44).

I agree with Bultmann’s intent to review theology through a scientific prism, but his idea that we should aspire to a demythologised Christian faith is just ridiculous. That is not faith at all, it is an abyss of despair. My view is that faith has to be grounded in reason, but that the big ideas of reason are the symbolic archetypes reflected in myth. Bultmann contradicts himself on this demythologisation agenda; he says he wants to do away with myth but then makes mythical comments like calling the event of Jesus Christ the revelation of the love of God. (KM33)

Christology presents the myth of Jesus Christ as the presence of eternity within time. This sense of divine presence was articulated into the historical story of the Gospels. My reading is that the original philosophical Gnostic intent was that the purpose of the incarnation story was to reveal a real connection between the shifting world of temporal appearance and the constant world of eternal reality. Bultmann’s demythology project fails to engage with this basic purpose of theology and religion. His scoffing at the pre-existence of Christ, an idea that is central to the eternal nature of the Logos as cosmic reason, again indicates a basic confusion in his Christology.

In seeing the New Testament as a proclamation of the liberating act of God, Bultmann sought to strip it of elements of the first-century mythical world picture that are in conflict with science. This seems worthy, except that the entirely mythical idea of Christian salvation retains central place in Bultmann’s acceptance that “we can in no way free ourselves from our factual fallenness in the world but are freed from it only by ... the salvation occurrence that is realized in Christ."

Demythologisation was grounded in Spinoza’s argument that any event in Scripture which is inconsistent with natural laws must be interpreted either as unreliable testimony or as a metaphorical or allegorical representation of a moral teaching. But Bultmann pursues this inconsistently with his idea of salvation by kerygma. His New Testament and Mythology rejects the "mythical world picture" of the New Testament cosmology as a description of the universe, but in this rejection Bultmann is in thrall to the progressive myth of the replacement of mythos by logos.

What is instead required is a deeper analysis of New Testament cosmology, to see how its symbols match with what the ancients could see, and with what we can now scientifically understand is true, in order to recognise the essential mythic function of astral cycles as informing the psychological mythic function of religion. This function of religion is imagining how we connect to ultimate reality. But demythology severs the connection between Christ and the Sun, when what is needed is a remythologised understanding of this natural ontology. Heidegger's definition of Logos as "the original connecting connectedness of Being" is helpful in understanding this 'rebinding' function of religion.

Bultmann held that the New Testament presents the world picture of a time now past which was not yet formed by scientific thinking, and which we cannot repristinate. I reject this view. We can re-form much of the ancient cosmology, seeing and knowing what of it is accurate, and how the accurate observation found its way into the Christ myth.
neilgodfrey wrote: So if an author does not address a point from your perspective they are "terminally confused"? This smacks just a little of arrogance. Why not be able to accept different perspectives for what they are without presuming that anyone who does not see what you see is "confused" or worse.
Science advances. When people promote an obsolete idea, such as the Historical Jesus, they cannot shed light on the facts. Geologists do not listen to people who reject continental drift, and nor should theology support uncritical belief in the Historical Jesus of Nazareth.

My comments in this post draw on Rudolf Bultmann's Theology - a critical interpretation by Robert C Roberts, and the following wikipedia pages
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Bultmann
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demythology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerygma

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by neilgodfrey » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:29 pm

Robert, your arguments are at a very high conceptual and philosophical level. I understand that approach, but for it to be effective you really need to demonstrate how his philosophical umbrella actually demonstrates the invalidity of the nuts and bolts of his methods -- these in fact could still be valid and applicable even within the parameters of other quite different assumptions. But let's leave all that aside -- my surprise was your original characterization of Bultmann.

Here is the real question:

I propose that hypothesis A can account for every word and phrase in certain pericopes -- a hypothesis that can be tested across multiple pericopes. And it works. It can also account for large sections of structure in the gospels.

Your hypothesis accounts for 2 or 3 words or images in a pericope only and relegates the rest to "teaching padding". But Hypothesis A can explain the content of that teaching padding while your hypothesis cannot.

Can't you see why your hypothesis fails to persuade. It is not because we are bigoted against its conclusions.
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Robert Tulip
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Robert Tulip » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:21 pm

Neil mentioned this thread in an interesting online live conversation with Richard Carrier on 15-16 March.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsVqWs6dy9c#t=197

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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Robert Tulip » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:37 am

Continuing to work through comments in order
neilgodfrey wrote: 2.3.14 viewtopic.php?p=7451#p7451
If you have read any of those [commentaries on Mark] but dismiss them because they do not arrive at your own conclusions or starting assumptions then what is the point of sharing any different point of view with you at all? You seem to have made up your mind that anything that does not draw your conclusions is ignoring the evidence. I believe the scholarly arguments about theological and literary criticism produce much more coherent explanations that are testable.
What we should do is explore what starting assumptions are reasonable. Traditionally, theology assumes Jesus existed. I maintain that this assumption is false. That is a valuable starting point for dialogue, as to how the traditional assumption came to become so dominant and what the evidence is for it. Zindler’s collection of essays on Ehrman illustrates that traditional assumptions about Jesus lack evidentiary basis or rational coherence. If people wish to argue for a historical Jesus then by all means, but that belief should hardly be used as an exclusionary club to limit the boundaries of acceptable views.

Scientific work assumes a consensus framework based on cumulative knowledge, testable against observation, assuming accepted facts as valid. Theology is quite different. The assumption in most Christian work is that the Gospels are a basically reliable historical account of the story of Jesus, despite a complete absence of external validation and many internal contradictions. The critical end of theology shears away the impossible bits that are accepted by conventional faith, but still fails to have a cumulative fact-based approach like we see in science.

I reject the historicity assumption regarding Christ because I contend the evidence is better explained by the view that the Jesus story is entirely fictional. In this rejection, I am not making contrary assumptions, but rather proposing hypotheses as to how the Gospels could have been written.

There is a difference between an assumption and a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a novel proposal which is open to being refuted by evidence. An assumption is just something you believe to be true, which you would be surprised to see challenged seriously.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:Clearly nothing is known about this miracle, by any sensible standard. I have just got out my copy of The Birth of Christianity, by John Dominic Crossan, an esteemed leftist theologian. . . . .
This is not a scholarly approach, Robert. It is ad hominem. It is sarcastic. And it is blaming Crossan for not addressing a point that he did not see relevant to the theme of his work.
Does theology never deserve sarcasm? Leftism in theology is a sign of brains, even if leftism in politics more broadly can be questioned. Crossan’s attitude to the loaves and fishes miracle is instructive. Its absence from his fat book suggests he thinks it has nothing to do with the birth of Christianity, despite the writers seeing fit to make it the most prominent miracle in the Gospels. I am pointing out that Crossan’s attitude on this point is extraordinary, a bit like leaving out holy week.

Weak understanding of ancient cosmology, whether it be Bultmann’s straw man of the three-tiered cosmos or Crossan’s apparent indifference to the whole topic, omits a central explanatory dimension. For Crossan that may be explicable from his subordination of content to politics, but scholars who are genuinely seeking to understand how the New Testament was formed will miss key issues if they ignore cosmology.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:...Crossan is on the left of the church, and I meant no disparagement by saying that, as naturally my opinion of the right wing of the church is far worse. Sarcasm is reasonable in this context, where debate is prevented by censorship in universities and the media. Believers go into emotional meltdown when their faith that Jesus existed is challenged. It is not a normal scholarly topic.
This is nothing but justification of ad hominem and conspiracy theory.
But again Neil, I have not made any ad hominem comments. I called Crossan a leftist. That is simply descriptive, and is not intended by me as a value judgement. He supports liberation theology. That is left wing. Christianity is about solidarity with the marginalised. Crossan picks up that theme and makes it central. I respect him for that, but consider he leaves out big parts that help us to understand Christian origins.

Re your comment on “conspiracy theory”, I am amazed that you imply there is no Christian censorship of debate about whether Jesus existed. It is not a matter of conspiracy, any more than early rejection of continental drift was a conspiracy of geologists. It is just that adherents of an obsolete paradigm don’t understand or welcome the ideas of a replacement theory.
neilgodfrey wrote: You sure do get very aggressive to push a mere "conjecture and speculation"! Keen to debate the details? But if we don't agree with you you simply say we don't understand, or are fearful to face the evidence, or are talking rubbish . . . .
Peter Kirby has kindly quarantined most of the wild aggressive attacks on me in this thread and my responses. I am not aggressive, I am simply confident that my views will be vindicated as correct. All new scientific theories are conjecture and speculation. That is how the hypothetico-deductive method works, beginning with ideas and then testing those ideas against evidence.

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:06 pm

Robert Tulip wrote:That is how the hypothetico-deductive method works, beginning with ideas and then testing those ideas against evidence.
I'm still waiting for responses to my several posts pointing out step by step how you/Murdock do not follow the hypothetico-deductive method at all.
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Blood
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Blood » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:32 pm

If Acharya S isn't some sort of personality cult, I haven't seen evidence of it. I don't dislike her work, but nothing's a bigger turn-off than "our leader must not be criticized" rhetoric.

Are her followers called S-enes?
“The only sensible response to fragmented, slowly but randomly accruing evidence is radical open-mindedness. A single, simple explanation for a historical event is generally a failure of imagination, not a triumph of induction.” William H.C. Propp

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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Maximos » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:00 am

Blood wrote:If Acharya S isn't some sort of personality cult, I haven't seen evidence of it. I don't dislike her work, but nothing's a bigger turn-off than "our leader must not be criticized" rhetoric.

Are her followers called S-enes?
It's these types of smears that ruin any reasonable discussion. It's one thing to offer positive constructive criticism based on the evidence, facts and arguments but, it's something completely different to toss strawman arguments, ad homs and malicious personal insults at her and her work and her supporters while the critics never read her work in the first place. That is known as intellectual dishonesty and it's never productive and has no place in legit discussion.

Just ask Neil Godfrey and Richard Carrier etc. what books of Acharya's they've actually read from cover to cover ... not just skimming for dirt to strawman. If they're honest, they will admit that they read no books of hers.

These guys can't even explain her evidence or arguments because they do not even know what they are, therefore, they're not even qualified to discuss it. In that Nuskeptix video with Godfrey and Carrier you'll notice Neil fail miserably to explain her position on the fish or the 12.
50:18 Neil Godfrey: "I've been in some conversations on a discussion board with one of Murdock's publicists, Robert Tulip, and um, my point is, ok look, I have this hypothesis I believe that the gospel miracle stories can be explained, ya know, by ya know such & such and the prediction here would be that every word and phrase in this particular pericope can be explained in terms of yeah, some other scripture and I can go through and show that and I ask him, "what is your prediction?" and all he can do is say well, (inaudible to me) ... the fish and the 12 or something like that ..." (laughter & ridicule)

Nuskeptix "Christ Myth Theory"
Neil, is calling Robert Tulip a "publicist" just another condescending put down? He's not a publicist and has never given the impression he was so, why the name calling?

Robert has a thread about the fish here but, if anybody were serious about learning more you would want to read Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection

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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by stephan happy huller » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:13 am

It's not a smear. It is very odd. Andrew Criddle is probably the most knowledgeable person here at this forum and he doesn't have naked virgins feeding him grapes and fanning him. The degree of devotion to someone of inferior knowledge about early Christianity is unusual and raises many questions about what is really going on here.
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